Thursday, December 5, 2013

show folk

Oh yes. As an award winning author and director I get letters. Like this one.
Dear Sir, I've always wondered - Do show folks constantly wallow in vanity? I saw one the other day on the street looking at her reflection in a jewelery store window combing her hair and clearing her throat loudly drawing a crowd. How do you put up with them?
Sincerely, Thurber Hobart Sturgeon

Mr. Sturgeon,
Oh yes, People Of The Stage remain buoyant in an ocean of vanity, as it were. But I don't really mind myself if anyone maintains their coiffure in a city street setting. I'm bald and it still makes no difference. But I do say this - I've had it up to my shiny top with these actors and their whining. You see, they all want attention. I once stood before a cast on stage during a rewrite where every confounded one of them wanted a death scene. What is it about death scenes? That was the only way I could convince a Famous Actress to join our troupe was to promise one. During one tour each of them approached me to write one. What am I supposed to do? Kill them all off and then come out on stage at the end and say ‘Ok, folks, show’s over. Go home’? I'd get a tomato splat right in the forehead. Maybe we long to hear the most eloquent and beautiful words from those who are at death’s door. It is said that Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s last words were ‘Let us cross over the river and sit under the shade of the trees.’ That one gets me every time.

Vanity! I tell you, Mr. Sturgeon. One time a famous unnamed mezzo-soprano refused at the last moment to enter stage right for her solo because somewhere along the tour one of her wings was lost. You see, she was a singing bird. Yeah, not original, but she had charisma to make people forget how she appeared before them. I told her to tuck the wing to one side and maybe it'll appear as two. She has a voice! Even an impatient child sliding down their mother’s lap would sit still with open mouth.(Ninth row, fourth from the left. Amazing) I must mention something, Mr. Sturgeon, about the heart of show folk. This same young woman fell ill during the tour. Couldn't sing anymore. A lump in her throat, a cyst or tumor, we didn't know. We took her to a throat specialist. In fact it was a rather large cyst and there was no way to safely operate without complete vocal loss. Weeks passed. She remained on tour, lending a hand, doing whatever she could, the cast trying to keep her spirits aloft, solitary wing notwithstanding. I walked in on her backstage at The Civic Theatre in Bellfontaine, Ohio, once and she was weeping, curled up in a costume trunk. See was horrified to see me standing over her watching, the scarf ripped in agony from her neck. I said, in my finest Cary Grant imitation what come off the late late show, 'Elizabeth, my love, I'll never get that trunk door shut with those big feet of yours.' She has tiny feet. Well, I can't explain it, but she started to laugh. She laughed so hard she was coughing and that cyst just burst. She could sing again. We hugged. I saw that she had both wings from there on.

image: Fallen Angel by digitalbrain


Blogger Tess Kincaid said...

Giggle...nice one Phil...

12/06/2013 4:48 PM  
Blogger ~T~ said...

Sounds like Kathe's backstage angel. She won't sing in vain anymore, will she?

12/18/2013 1:12 AM  

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